Tag: ‘tax expenditures’

Obama Proposes to Fix the Cadillac Tax

By :: February 8th, 2016

In the budget he plans to release tomorrow, President Obama will propose some modest changes to the Affordable Care Act’s much-reviled Cadillac Tax on high-cost employer sponsored health plans.  In advance of the proposal, Jason Furman, Chair of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, published a full-throated endorsement of the levy. While the tax has […]

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Back at the Tax Extender Trough

By :: December 1st, 2015

For years, Congress has struggled with what to do with scores of temporary tax breaks that have come to be known as the “tax extenders.”   The usual resolution: Lawmakers fiddle for months. Then, sometime in December, they mindlessly continue the immortal mostly-business tax breaks for another year or two. Last year, Congress never could agree […]

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How Many Americans Get Government Assistance? All of Us

By :: June 4th, 2015

The other day, the Census Bureau put out a new report that concluded about one-in-five Americans received government benefits in 2012. But the study, called Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Participation in Government Programs, 2009–2012: Who Gets Assistance, takes a far too narrow view about who gets the help. A more accurate estimate of the share of Americans […]

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The Perpetual, Immortal, Eternal, Never-Ending Tax Extenders

By :: May 28th, 2015

The magic number for today is 16. That is, remarkably, the number of times Congress has extended the allegedly temporary research and experimentation tax credit since it was first enacted in 1981.  The question for philosophy class (this is far beyond economics) is this: Can something that has been extended 16 times over 33 years […]

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Busting Myths for Tax Day

By :: April 14th, 2015

Since Tax Day is tomorrow, it seems like a good time to bust a few myths about taxes. Here are five of the biggest misperceptions about the federal revenue code. Most of the info comes from two sources: the Tax Policy Center’s Tax Topics (a trove of great information about who pays what) and the […]

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Obama's Failure to Kill 529 Plans May Say Less About Tax Reform Than You Think

By :: January 30th, 2015

After President Obama proposed, and rapidly abandoned, a plan to curb the tax advantages of Sec. 529 college savings accounts, several wise observers, including my friend David Wessel at Brookings, saw an object lesson for broad-based tax reform. To wit: If lawmakers can’t ditch a single $1 billion tax break, how could they possibly agree to […]

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“They Said That They Would Do It and Indeed They Did.” 


By :: December 15th, 2014

“Oh, what a night…” but no shut down. Ted Cruz and a handful of allies succeeded in delaying the Senate vote on the 2015 budget, but they couldn’t stop it. The $1.1 trillion spending bill was approved late Saturday night by a vote of 56-40. And three months into the fiscal year, most of the […]

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Dave Camp’s Great Bonus Depreciation Flip-Flop

By :: May 29th, 2014

Sadly, the House Ways & Means Committee has turned on its head a proposal by its chairman, Dave Camp (R-MI) to repeal bonus depreciation for business capital investment. Instead of scrapping the measure, which Congress originally passed in 2008 as a temporary anti-recession tonic, the panel has voted to make the tax break permanent. And, […]

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How “Dead Men” Fiscal Policy Is Paralyzing Government

By :: May 13th, 2014

In his new book, Dead Men Ruling, my Tax Policy Center colleague Gene Steuerle delivers a powerful indictment of the current epidemic of irresponsible fiscal policy. But Gene isn’t writing about deficits and today’s economy.  His focus is on the long-term political, social, and economic consequences of mindless budgeting that increasingly functions on policy autopilot. Gene’s […]

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If Congress Lets Firms Expense Investments, It Should Take Away Their Interest Deduction

By :: April 17th, 2014

Egged on by business lobbyists, congressional tax writers seem increasingly interested in allowing firms to rapidly write off the cost of their capital investments. Especially in the House, lawmakers would allow small businesses to expense the full cost of their investments in the year they are acquired, and let larger firms heavily front-load tax depreciation […]

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